Diary Of A Real Bride: The (Second) Big Question
Last month, we introduced you to our third BCME real bride diary contributor, Maja Lunsjo. We were thrilled to hear all about her helicopter proposal and excited to discover how her and her fiancé Chris’s wedding plans would unfold.
This month, Maja and Chris faced a common dilemma amongst expats who are engaged; where to get married. Read on to find out how Maja and Chris worked together to come up with a solution, and to find out where they’ve chosen to have their big day!
As we started our wedding planning journey Chris and I quickly realised that whilst we agree on a lot and some decisions are surprisingly easy to make, others are more complicated and can result in emotional conversations between both the couple and families/friends. It is difficult to move forward with decisions when a big part of what you pictured as your perfect day clashes with that of your partners’. Here is how we tackled the so far most difficult decision of our wedding and eventually came to a perfect solution; hopefully you will find it helpful in your planning process.
“So have you decided where you’ll be getting married yet?”
“No, no not quite yet.” We laughed and quickly changed the subject.
Chris and I had often discussed our wedding and we already had a pretty good idea of what we wanted when it came to the details. We knew we preferred a DJ over a band (more variety), a sit-down meal over a buffet (less messy) and to write our own wedding vows (more personal). The big question, however – in which country to have the wedding – we avoided like the plague. It was, as Chris called it, “The no-go zone of wedding planning”.
There were many different factors that made this particular issue a touchy subject. Chris’s family lives in the UK whilst my family lives in Sweden, and our friends are spread all over the world. Regardless of where we choose, some groups were going to have to spend a lot of money to travel, whilst some people would not be able to attend at all due to health issues. We were worried about upsetting people or, in the worst case, being seen as picking a side or favouritism.
“Here is what we’ll do,” I said one evening after having spent another dinner trying to avoid the subject. “We make a list of the key deciding factors ranked from most important to least important, and score each country on 1-3 based on those factors. This time next week we sit down and review to see which country gets the best score and that will decide where we have the wedding.”
Chris agreed. It was a logical approach and one which would help us focus on the facts rather than the emotional element (whilst still taking it into consideration, of course). We starting producing a list of the most important things to consider. After an hour of brainstorming, we went through and refined the list, removing anything that we felt was unnecessary (on second thoughts, I agreed that “separate ceremony and reception venue so we can travel in a pretty car” perhaps wasn’t essential). What we were left with was a list of 14 key factors, which included costs, capacity, ease of arrangements, extra services included in the packages, etc. We decided to split our research into three choices: UK, Sweden and Dubai. We already had a favourite venue in each country, so the research would be based on that particular venue rather than the country in general.
A week later we sat down at the dining table with a bottle of our favourite red and laid all our notes and research on the table. There was a lot of information, comparing everything from the flexibility of menus to how late we could “stay open”.
Three hours later the decision came down to the following four factors:
♡ Fairness: It has to be perceived as fair for all of our guests.
♡ Cost: It had to be within budget (interestingly we quickly discovered that the costs didn’t differ much between our top three locations).
♡ Hands-on: We wanted to be able to plan it ourselves; research and visit our own vendors, be on call to handle any issues and be able to see and touch the products we were buying. We both felt that by picking either of our home countries we would be putting all that responsibility on our parents and that wasn’t fair to them.
♡ Our dream day: The biggest (perhaps not surprising) revelation was this: it is impossible to please everyone. We had spent so much time trying to think about what everybody else wanted that at no point had we actually asked each other “What does your dream wedding look like?” Once we had that conversation, it became clear that we both wanted the same thing. An outside wedding on a sunny, warm day surrounded by friends and family in a casual setting. We both love our home countries, but needless to say neither Sweden or the UK can be described and “warm and sunny”
So with that, we put our notebooks away and toasted (with the few drops of red left in the bottle) to our dream wedding at Al Qasr Jumeirah, Dubai.